Please join CUNY DHI and the Digital Praxis Seminar for a talk by Andrew Stauffer, “Postcard from the Volcano: The Research Library after Wide-Scale Digitization.”
What will become of the print collections? As the historical record is translated to digital forms, academic research libraries are under pressure to manage down their physical holdings and repurpose stack space. In this presentation. I address our need as humanities scholars for a hybrid print-digital environment, one that takes rich advantage of digital technologies even as it finds new ways of seeing individual printed volumes. The 19th-century book — plentiful, out of copyright, often in poor condition — is at particular risk in the coming decade. My conviction is that the vulnerability of this material is bound up with its particular value to our cultural moment, that we are deaccessioning books at precisely the moment when we are most in need of their particular lessons regarding modern media, reading habits,and academic institutions. In this presentation, I focus primarily on personal marginalia in copies of nineteenth-century books, demonstrating the importance of individual copies to our understanding of what books as media – especially books of poetry – were for. In addition, I introduce several initiatives aimed at getting scholars and library policy makers together to chart a course for the future of the print record in our libraries.
Andrew Stauffer is associate professor of English at the University of Virginia, where he also serves as Director of NINES (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-century Electronic Scholarship) and a member of the teaching faculty of the Rare Book School. He is the author of _Anger, Revolution, and Romanticism_ (Cambridge UP, 2005) and the editor of works by Robert Browning (for Norton) and H. Rider Haggard (for Broadview), and he has published widely on nineteenth-century literature. Stauffer has served as principal investigator on digital humanities grants from Google (for Juxta) and the NEH, and he has received fellowships from the NEH, the ACLS, the Huntington, and the NYPL. His current book project is “Postcard from the Volcano: The Troubled Archive of Nineteenth Century Literature.”